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How is myopia diagnosed?

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Myopia, commonly known as short-sightedness, affects a significant portion of the global population. Understanding how this condition is diagnosed is essential for early intervention and effective management. In this blog post, we will explore the diagnostic methods used by eye care professionals to identify and assess myopia.

Young girl having an eye examination

Visual Acuity Test

The most common diagnostic tool used for myopia is the visual acuity test. During this test, an individual is asked to read a standardized eye chart from a certain distance. By measuring the person's ability to see objects clearly at various distances, eye care professionals can determine the extent of their myopia. This test is quick, non-invasive, and provides valuable information about the person's visual acuity.


Retinoscopy is another valuable technique employed by eye care professionals to diagnose myopia. In this procedure, a retinoscope is used to shine a light into the eye, while the examiner observes the reflection of light from the retina. By adjusting the lenses in front of the eye, the examiner can determine the refractive error and the presence of myopia. Retinoscopy is particularly useful for examining young children and individuals who may have difficulty cooperating during a visual acuity test.


Autorefraction is a modern diagnostic method that uses an automated instrument to measure the eye's refractive error (short-sight, long-sight and astigmatism). During this test, the individual looks into the machine's viewfinder, and the instrument automatically determines the focusing power required for clear vision. Autorefraction provides accurate and objective measurements, minimizing the subjectivity associated with traditional methods. Eye care professionals often use autorefraction as a preliminary screening tool for myopia diagnosis before confirming the results with other tests.

Diagnosing myopia is a crucial step in managing this common vision problem. Visual acuity tests, retinoscopy, and autorefraction are the primary methods employed by eye care professionals to diagnose myopia accurately. Early detection of myopia enables timely intervention and appropriate corrective measures, helping individuals enjoy clear vision and maintain optimal eye health. Regular eye examinations play a vital role in identifying and managing myopia effectively. Use our find a specialist tool to book an eye examination for your child.

If you're a parent whose child has been diagnosed with myopia or if they are struggling with their distance vision, we hope you found MyopiaFocus helpful. Please join our community or sign our petition to get the government and NHS to recognise myopia as an ocular disease/severe ocular condition and fund myopia management for children.

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